Package of Jersey City Bills Calls for Energy Audit on a Three-Year Basis to Create Accountability and Set a Goal of Increasing Renewable Energy Use; Jersey City Legislation to be a Model for Municipalities around NJ to Address Climate Change
"We can't wait to take action on climate change and in Jersey City we are developing real solutions and a definitive road map to reduce our carbon footprint," said Mayor Fulop. "Financial audits are done every three years to ensure sound business practices, and we will use that model to track progress of our energy reduction at the municipal level to create accountability and maximize costs and efficiency. As one of the most densely populated cities in the nation, we must be leaders on sustainability."
Being presented to the City Council at its meeting this week is the following package of energy bills:
- An ordinance creating a new chapter of the municipal code mandating energy audits of city buildings every three years to create accountability and to identify what energy conservation measures can be implemented to maximize energy savings and energy efficiency
- A resolution to reduce the city's carbon footprint over the long-term, specifically by increasing the use of renewable energy to 80 percent of the city's total energy consumption by 2050
- A resolution authorizing environmental firm Greener By Design to conduct an initial energy audit of all city buildings (specifically a municipal carbon and greenhouse gas footprint analysis)
The legislation also sets a goal of purchasing at least 50 percent of the City's energy from renewable sources and the installation of renewable energy technologies on city facilities where feasible. The administration will also work to incentivize the use of renewable energy purchases for residents and businesses, as well as the incentivizing the installation of solar technology by easing the permitting process.
"We are taking steps in Jersey City to create ways for our residents, business owners and builders to use renewable energy and create a more sustainable city for generations to come," said Councilman Rivera. "With these goals and incentives, we are not only providing ways for the community to use renewable energy sources, but we are also leading by example."
Jersey City is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges from increased and more intense storms due to climate change, as was seen during Hurricane Sandy. The estimated cost from Hurricane Sandy to Jersey City municipal buildings alone was $10 million, with additional tens of millions of dollars of damages to private property and more than $38 million in lost wages to Jersey City residents.
Under Mayor Fulop, Jersey City has been named the tenth greenest city in America by financial website NerdWallet.com, has invested more than $6 million in parks improvements and is currently building the largest municipal park in the city's history in the heart of the city, as part of a brownfield to greenfield transformation. Jersey City has also expanded the use of solar energy and is helping to cut energy waste with over 50 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) construction projects and LEED training for City employees.
Examples of the City's commitment to energy efficiency include the new DPW facility on Linden Avenue which was built to LEED standards and features on-site solar power generation; the new West District Police Station, to open in the coming weeks, featuring a green roof, green power from renewable sources, and built with recycled and sustainable materials; and the Public Safety Communications Center on Bishop Street that was built with sustainable materials incorporated into a high efficiency design aimed at both water reduction and energy savings.
The Fulop Administration has worked to further the walking and mass transit culture of Jersey City, has installed more than 22 miles of bike lanes and is launching a bike share system that will connect with NYC's bike share system - the largest in the nation.
"The Jersey City Environmental Commission is proud to support Jersey City's leadership in mitigating the detrimental effects of climate change," said Gerald Nicholls, Chair of the Jersey City Environmental Commission. "The climate change resolution demonstrates Jersey City's commitment to the safety of its citizens and to the global community. Given the absence of initiatives by the State Legislature to deal with problems such as climate change, we hope the Mayor's leadership will catalyze similar resolutions and ordinances by other forward-thinking municipalities."
With the right policies in place at local, state, and federal level, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that America can produce most of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050, using technologies such as wind turbines, solar power, biopower, geothermal, and hydropower.
The benefits of renewable energy are many, including reducing global warming emissions, improving public health, and creating jobs and other economic benefits.
"Climate change is already impacting important waterfront communities like Jersey City," said Judith A. Enck, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator. "The Environmental Protection Agency applauds the amazing leadership of Jersey City in driving down greenhouse gas pollution. This leadership will improve not only the environment but also the economy for the people of Jersey City."
All media inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Morrill, Press Secretary to Mayor Steven M. Fulop at 201-547- 4836 or 201-376-0699.////
Original Release can be found here: